Dpt. Agricultural Economics, Finance and Accounting
University of Cordoba
Campus Rabanales. N-IV km 396, Gregor Mendel Building. E-14071 Córdoba, Spain
phone-icon (+34) 957 218 457
email-icon berbel@uco.es
Skype julio.berbel


Julio Berbel (UCO) is a full Professor of Agricultural Economics in University of Cordoba where he is coordinating projects related to environmental management and biotechnology. He holds a PhD Agricultural Engineering (Univ. Córdoba) and a Master Agricultural Economics (Univ. Manchester). Publications are in the field of water, agricultural economics, agribusiness and environmental management. He has been consultant and technical assistance to the European Commission (DG ENV-Water), Ministry of Agriculture and Environment (Spain) and Junta de Andalucía for the implementation of Water Framework Directive and River Basin Management Plans. He combines hand-on experience in environmental and agribusiness management sector with academic and scientific involvement.

Research Interests

The research focuses on water economics, focusing in economic instruments for water governance, including water pricing, water markets, water accounting, cost-effectiveness analysis.

Models for policy analysis are based upon mathematical programming at farm level through Multi Attribute Utility Theory (MAUT) and Multi Criteria Decision Making (MCDM).

Water use and efficiency, focused on rebound effect of investment in water saving.

Bioeconomy and circular economy in food and agricultural sectors.

Currently research projects:

  • (HE-CL6-GOV-RIA-2022-101086578) GOVAQUA: Water governance, economic and financial sustainability of water systems). Period: 2023-2027. HORIZON-CL6-GOVERNANCE. European Commission.  Project Coordinator
  • (PRIMA-S1 NEXUS-2021-2141) BONEX – Boosting Nexus Framework Implementation in the Mediterranean. Period: 2022-2025. Project Coordinator
  • (PRIMA-S2-2021) AgrEcoMed – New agroecological approach for soil fertility and biodiversity restoration to improve economic and social resilience of Mediterranean farming systems. Principal investigator.
  • (PID2019-107127RB-100) BHYEM – Water policy analysis in a context of water scarcity and climate change: a hydro-economic model at a watershed scale integrating micro and macroeconomic effects. Principal investigator.

Previous research projects:

  • SUWANU (H2020-RUR2018-818088). Europe-Network for effective knowledge transfer on safe and economic wastewater reuse in agriculture in Europe.
  • GOTHAM (PRIMA-S1-2019): Governance tool for sustainable water resources allocation in the mediterranean through stakeholder’s collaboration. Towards a paradigm shift in groundwater management by end-users
  • PI-RURAL (PI/2017/382-112). Rural Water and Food Security. China-EU Water Platform Project (CEWP).
  • National Project (AGL2014-53417-R). EVAMODRE: Evaluation of irrigation modernization in the context of climate change: Assessing of current and future scenarios of Southern Spain basins. (2015-2018).
  • Study on EU Integrated Policy Assessment for the Freshwater and Marine Environment, on the Economic Benefits of EU Water Policy and on the Costs of its Non-Implementation.

Most relevant Peer-reviewed publications


Expósito, A., Díaz-Cano, E. and Berbel, J. (2024). The potential use of reclaimed water for irrigation purposes: Is it overestimated?, Water Resources Management, doi: 10.1007/s11269-024-03878-w

Pronti, A., Auci, S. and Berbel, J. (2024). Water conservation and saving technologies for irrigation. A structured literature review of econometric studies on the determinants of adoption, Agricultural Water Management 299:108838 doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2024.108838


Berbel, J., Mesa-Pérez, E. and Simón, P. (2023). Challenges for Circular Economy under the EU 2020/741 Wastewater Reuse Regulation, Global Challenges 2200232 doi: 10.1002/gch2.202200232

Cárdenas-Polonio, F., Martínez-Dalmau, J. and Berbel-Vecino, J. (2023). Pistachio nut diffusion in Spain: Growth models, Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research 21(1):e0103
doi: 10.5424/sjar/2023211-19474

Expósito, A., Kahil, T. and Berbel, J. (2023). Editorial — Advances in Hydro-Economic Modeling for Sustainable Basin Management in a Context of Climate Change, Water Economics and Policy 9(1):2302001 doi: 10.1142/s2382624x23020010

Hurtado, A. and Berbel, J. (2023). Learning, knowledge, and the role of government: a qualitative system dynamics analysis of Andalusia’s circular bioeconomy, Bio-based and Applied Economics doi: 10.36253/bae-13504

Martínez-Dalmau, J., Gutiérrez-Martín, C., Expósito, A. and Berbel, J. (2023). Analysis of water pricing policy effects in a Mediterranean basin through a hydroeconomic model, Water Resources Management doi: 10.1007/s11269-023-03446-8

Martínez-Dalmau, J., Gutiérrez-Martín, C., Kahil, T. and Berbel, J. (2023). Impact of alternative water policies for drought adaptation in the Guadalquivir Mediterranean river basin, southern Spain, Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies doi: 10.1016/j.ejrh.2023.101444

Pronti, A. and Berbel, J. (2023). The impact of volumetric water tariffs in irrigated agriculture in Northern Italy, Environmental Impact Assessment Review 98:106922 doi: 10.1016/j.eiar.2022.106922

Tocados-Franco, E., Berbel, J. and Expósito, A. (2023). Water policy implications of perennial expansion in the Guadalquivir River Basin (southern Spain), Agricultural Water Management 282:108286 doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2023.108286


Berbel, J. and Expósito, A. (2022). A decision model for stochastic optimization of seasonal irrigation-water allocation, Agricultural Water Management 262:107419 doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2021.107419

Espinosa-Tasón, J., Berbel, J., Gutiérrez-Martín, C. and Musolino, D.A. (2022). Socioeconomic impact of 2005–2008 drought in Andalusian agriculture, Science of The Total Environment 826:154148 doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.154148


Martínez-Dalmau, J., Berbel, J. and Ordóñez-Fernández, R. (2021). Nitrogen fertilization. A review of the risks associated with the inefficiency of its use and policy responses, Sustainability 13(10):5625 doi: 10.3390/su13105625

Troian, A., Gomes, M.C., Tiecher, T., Berbel, J. and Gutiérrez-Martín, C. (2021). The drivers-pressures-state-impact-response model to structure cause-effect relationships between agriculture and aquatic ecosystems, Sustainability 13(16) doi: 10.3390/su13169365


Berbel, J. and Expósito, A. (2020). The theory and practice of water pricing and cost recovery in the Water Framework Directive, Water Alternatives 13(3):659-673

Berbel, J., Montilla-López, N.M. and Giannoccaro, G. (2020). Institutions and economics of water scarcity and droughts, Water 12(11):3248 doi: 10.3390/w12113248

Borrego-Marín, M.M., Expósito, A. and Berbel, J. (2020). A simplified hydro-economic model of Guadalquivir river basin for analysis of water-pricing scenarios, Water 12(7):1879 doi: 10.3390/w12071879

Espinosa-Tasón, J., Berbel, J. and Gutiérrez-Martín, C. (2020). Energized water: Evolution of water-energy nexus in the Spanish irrigated agriculture, 1950–2017, Agricultural Water Management 233:106073 doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2020.106073

Expósito, A., Beier, F. and Berbel, J. (2020). Hydro-economic modelling for water-policy assessment under climate change at river basin scale: A review, Water 12(6):1559 doi: 10.3390/w12061559

Expósito, A. and Berbel, J. (2020). The economics of irrigation in almond orchards. Application to southern Spain, Agronomy 10(6):796 doi: 10.3390/agronomy10060796

Mesa Pérez, E. and Berbel, J. (2020). Analysis of barriers and opportunities for reclaimed wastewater use for agriculture in Europe, Water 12(8):2308 doi: 10.3390/w12082308


Berbel, J., Borrego-Marín, M.M., Expósito, A., Giannoccaro G., Montilla-López N.M., Roseta-Palma C. (2019). Analysis of irrigation water tariffs and taxes in Europe, Water Policy 21(4):806-825 doi: 10.2166/wp.2019.197

Berbel, J., Esteban, E. (2019). Droughts as a catalyst for water policy change. Analysis of Spain, Australia (MDB), and California, Global Environmental Change 58:101969 doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2019.101969

Berbel, J., Expósito, A. and Borrego Marín, M.M. (2019). Conciliation of competing uses and stakeholder to groundwater: an evaluation of Fuencaliente Aquifer (Spain), International Journal of Water Resources Development 35(5):830-846 doi: 10.1080/07900627.2018.1491392

Berbel, J., Expósito, A., Gutiérrez-Martín, C. and Mateos L. (2019). Effects of the Irrigation Modernization in Spain 2002–2015, Water Resources Management 33(5):1835-1849.
doi: 10.1007/s11269-019-02215-w

Borrego Marín, M.M. and Berbel, J.(2019). Cost-benefit analysis of irrigation modernization in Guadalquivir River Basin, Agricultural Water Management 212:416-423 doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2018.08.032

Expósito, A. and Berbel, J.(2019). Drivers of irrigation water productivity and basin closure process: Analysis of the Guadalquivir river basin (Spain), Water Resources Management 33(4):1439-1450 doi: 10.1007/s11269-018-2170-7


Berbel, J. and Expósito, A. (2018). Economic challenges for the EU Water Framework Directive reform and implementation, European Planning Studies 26(1):20-34 doi: 10.1080/09654313.2017.1364353

Berbel, J., Gutiérrez-Martín, C., Expósito, A., (2018). Impacts of irrigation efficiency improvement on water use, water consumption and response to water price at field level. Agricultural Water Management. 203:423-429 doi: 10.1016/j.agwat.2018.02.026

Berbel, J., Expósito, A. and Mateos, L. (2018). The Importance of the groundwater governance in the global change context: A proposal for a Mediterranean aquifer (Llanos de la Puebla, Spain) in Calvache, M.L., Duque, C. and Pulido-Velazquez, D. (eds.), Groundwater and Global Change in the Western Mediterranean Area. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 35-42


Expósito, A. and Berbel, J. (2017). Sustainability implications of deficit irrigation in a mature water economy: A case study in southern Spain, Sustainability 9(7):1144 doi: 10.3390/su9071144

Expósito, A. and Berbel, J. (2017). Agricultural Irrigation Water Use in a Closed Basin and the Impacts on Water Productivity: The Case of the Guadalquivir River Basin (Southern Spain), Water 9(2):136 doi: 10.3390/w9020136

Expósito, A. and Berbel, J. (2017). Why is water pricing ineffective for deficit irrigation schemes? A case study in Southern Spain, Water Resources Management 31(3):1047-1059 doi: 10.1007/s11269-016-1563-8

Berbel, J., Gutiérrez-Martín, C. and Martín-Ortega, J. (2017). Water Economics and Policy, Water 9:801 doi: 10.3390/w9100801

Gutiérrez-Martín, C., Borrego-Marín, M.M. and Berbel, J. (2017). The economic analysis of water use in the Water Framework Directive based on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water: A case study of the Guadalquivir river basin, Water 9(3):180 doi: 10.3390/w9030180


Borrego-Marín, M.M., Gutiérrez-Martín, C. and Berbel, J. (2016). Estimation of cost recovery ratio for water services based on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water. Water Resources Management 30(2):767-783.

Borrego-Marín, M.M., Gutiérrez-Martín, C. and Berbel, J. (2016). Water productivity under drought conditions estimated using SEEA-Water, Water 8(4):138


Berbel, J., Gutiérrez-Martín, C., Rodríguez-Díaz, J.A., Camacho, E. and Montesinos, P. (2015). Literature review on rebound effect of water saving measures and analysis of a Spanish case study. Water Resources Management 29(3):663-678.

Berbel, J. and Gutiérrez-Martín, C. (2015). Farmer’s subjective elicited water response function for intensive olives and compromise programming method for irrigation supply decision, Economía Agraria y Recursos Naturales (Agricultural and Resource Economics) 15(2):51-68.

2014 and previous

Gutiérrez-Martín, C., Pérez Blanco, C.D., Gómez Gómez, C.M. and Berbel, J. (2014). Price Volatility and Water Demand in Agriculture. A Case Study of the Guadalquivir River Basin (Spain). In T. Bournaris, J. Berbel, B. Manosand D. Viaggi eds. Economics of Water Management in Agriculture. Boca Ratón, EEUU, CRC Press. Taylor & Francis Gruop, pp. 319-348.

Berbel, J., and Mateos, L. (2014). Does investment in irrigation technology necessarily generate rebound effects? A simulation analysis based on an agro-economic model. Agricultural Systems 128:25-34.

Mesa-Jurado, M.A., Martin-Ortega, J., Ruto, E., and Berbel, J. (2012). The economic value of guaranteed water supply for irrigation under scarcity conditions. Agricultural Water Management 113:10-18.

Berbel, J., Martin-Ortega, J., and Mesa, P. (2011). A cost-effectiveness analysis of water-saving measures for the water framework directive: the case of the Guadalquivir River Basin in Southern Spain. Water Resources Management 25(2):623-640.

Brouwer, R., Martin-Ortega, J., and Berbel, J. (2010). Spatial preference heterogeneity: a choice experiment. Land Economics 86(3):552-568.

Gomez-Barbero, M., Berbel, J., and Rodriguez-Cerezo, E. (2008). Bt corn in Spain—the performance of the EU’s first GM crop. Nature Biotechnology 26(4):384-386.